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Planet of the Apes: The Legacy Collection

Double dipping — who doesn't love it? For the second time the Planet of the Apes series has been released on DVD. Why? Well, two reasons. The first is mercenary: Peter Jackson's King Kong has a giant ape in it, and that smells like studio synergy. The second is that the first release, "The Evolution" (reviewed by Alexandra Dupont here), did not present the films in anamorphic transfers (though the first film was remastered for a two-disc set a while back). As such, those who've longed for anamorphic widescreen transfers of 1970's Beneath the Planet of the Apes, 1971's Escape from the Planet of the Apes, 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and 1973's Battle for the Planet of the Apes (all 2.35:1) can now sit back and enjoy the films on a plasma screen without having to adjust the picture too much. And to that point, it is worth noting that the transfers are modestly improved in their anamorphic versions, and all now offer Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (with the original mono mixes as an option), while the original film also features a DTS track. The new box includes Battle for in an extended edition that runs three minutes longer that doesn't come close to fixing the problems with the film. Those looking to go all out can get Planet of the Apes — The Ultimate DVD Collection, which features not only the first five films and the two-disc version of the first film, it also includes Tim Burton's dreadful reimagining, the TV series, and — new to DVD — the complete animated TV series, all of which comes with a bust of Roddy McDowell's Caesar from Conquest, with fully comb-able hair (so pretty)! Completists might be annoyed that neither package contains the theatrical release of Battle, leaving the truly anal-retentive holding on to one disc from the old set, but the fanbase of that film is virtually non-existent — though it is arguably more entertaining that the Burton version. All the films come with THX transfers and feature trailers for the entire series (and the Burton version). The first title comes with two commentaries, one with Composer Jerry Goldsmith and the second with actors Roddy McDowell, Natalie Trundy, Kim Hunter, and make-up artist John Chambers. Also included with the first film is a text commentary by Eric Greene, author of "Planet of the Apes as American Myth" The sixth disc is the same from the Evolution version, a two-hour 1999 documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes hosted by Roddy McDowell. Six keep-cases in a paperboard slipcase.

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